Minnesota caps off successful season at national championships

Minnesota saw five of eight athletes earn All-American honors.

Carissa Polo

Once again, the Gophers made history with its performance in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon last week. 

Two weeks after the team tied a program record by sending eight athletes to the championships, five of Minnesota’s representatives earned individual All-American honors — the most individual awards for the program during a single season ever. 

“It was a really good meet,” said head coach Matt Bingle. “I think the ladies did a good job in that environment of competing well and staying focused.” 

Junior Nicolle Murphy earned the first All-American title for Minnesota on the first day of competition. 

Murphy placed fourth in the javelin with a career-best throw of 55.84 meters. The throw moved Murphy to second-best in program history and earned her second First Team All-American nod of her career. 

Redshirt senior Lyndsey Thorpe  followed up Murphy in the hammer throw. She placed sixth in the event with a throw of 63.30 meters in her first NCAA Championships appearance. The throw broke a school record that Thorpe had previously set and secured her a spot on the All-American First Team.

“I was in the first flight of the hammer, so I knew I had to get a big throw to make top nine to get to finals,” Thorpe said. “Just seeing that big number was super exciting because I knew that I had a pretty good shot to make finals.”

Redshirt senior Jess Lehman competed in the heptathlon at the meet for the second time in her career and finished in seventh place to make First Team All-American honors. 

Lehman finished her college career as a four-time All-American following her last meet.

“I’m really sad it’s over. Track has been such a big part of our lives, and all my best friends are on the team,” Lehman said. “It’s going to be hard to say goodbye but, you know, that’s just how it goes.” 

Freshman Shanique Wright competed in the triple jump and placed 12th after a 12.99 meter mark and received Second Team All-American accolades. 

Sophomore Agnes Esser also earned a place on the All-American Second Team and finished 15th in the discus with a throw of 52.61 meters.

The meet was the first appearance at the NCAA Championships for Wright and Esser and the All-American plaudits are the first of their careers.

The team tied for 22nd place in the meet overall, the best Minnesota mark since 2009, and hopes to continue the hot streak in the coming seasons.

“We’re actually looking at the next few years, trying to make a plan and see where we’re at,” Bingle said. “I think we can be pretty good, but we’re trying to see what we can do to be great.”